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U.S. crude oil supplies drop in week

March 21, 2013 at 8:21 AM

WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- U.S. crude oil inventories fell last week but remain well above the seasonal average, the Energy Information Administration said.

The agency said inventories dropped 1.3 million barrels to 382.7 million barrels in the week ending Friday.

The EIA said supplies of distillate fuels, which include home heating oil, fell 700,000 barrels to 119.8 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuels are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year, the agency said.

Stockpiles of gasoline fell 1.5 million barrels to 222.8 million barrels this week but remain in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

A draw down in crude oil was expected as refineries lower inventory to prepare for spring maintenance projects. With the drop in inventories close to expectations, the decline should have minimal effect on wholesale prices.

The national average price of unleaded gasoline shed 1.4 cents to $3.696 per gallon, putting the price of gasoline 17.1 cents lower than the same week of 2012.

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